[When that Rossum robot spontaneously self-assembled, back around Issue 12? Yeah, turns out that was a Pneuma/Numina/Summer shade from the time fracture / the piece tied to the time-space trap / keynome device.]
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom!
WDW. The statue is still there. Charlotte and the Magus are missing.
Alycia and Summer
Summer is … still split. Doesn’t have the equipment to reunite here. Thousand yard stare.
Al - I’m sorry …
S - You’re sorry for what it’s done, you shouldn’t be sorry for what it did.
Al - I – yes. If I can do anything to fix things, while keeping everyone safe … are you all right? Can I help?
S- Sure, hold still (gives a hug)
Alyicia pats her back – with a hug – -gish thing.
[C&S - Summer -> 9!] --> Alycia clears Guilty
[C&S - Alycia -> 6!] -->
C - When you came to talk with me at Blintzkrieg, asked me what next … I wanted to poison your blintz, not make it badly or spit it, but poison it. That was spiteful and hateful and mean and unworthy, but i felt it. Hate and love are very close. maybe you think I’m a nice person, but the truth is I’m passionate. This person here is, too. And it turned into something ugly and hurtful. That was going to hurt people, and you did what was needed to be done.
Al - I want to help, if we can keep things safe.
C - You know Leo is going to try.
Al - Yeah, all the more reason to have someone there thinking of the big picture.
C - Trust you to help out.
Al -Wow, a lot of glittery starfishbot dust in the air here …
C - Next time you can say pollin in the air.
Check on Adam.
Check on park visitors who didn’t flee.
Alive. Which means have to go back home.
Jordan is probably still freaking out.
Can’t talk to Mom.
Dad will be unhappy mostly about Mom.
Fake own death?
Huh. Where is Charlotte?
… where is she? [Unleash Powers -> 7!] Down a long tunnel … in her room, reading, looking at broach and staff …
Either the Magus gave her the power, or Charlotte took it. Probably the first. Damned. Weird. And the space/place is almost a snow globe, with shards of time swirling around her. And there is a massive risk of reality being massively damaged. And it’s dangerous to even think of going to her.
[Burn -> 11!] … Overcharge … Concord Sigil flaring on his forehead, hands up Doctor-Strangeish, reddish energies …
“Hey, Charlotte, can you hear me?”
C - see Ad in the mirror.
C - just processing
Ad - more info. do you know what a bullet hell video game is? hmmm, a briar patch? If you do something sudden, time could unravel, and I don’t want that to happen.
What happened with the magus?
C - he retired, to prevent the event that cause our friends to become statues. I get what you’re saying … [and she really does kind of understand a bit more about the power … the keynomes have been highly tuned to highly customized purposes … certain things didn’t happen … but there are the Hidden Family that precurse every active agent that did stuff for the next 250 years to the Menagerie present … she can make a lot of it not happen, make them forget … but then Jason doesn’t happen, or Alycia, or things go really differently … things have already changed subtly because she’d been already gone a minute or two …
C - Was going to go the gazebo dimension and get acclimated. Need to find a place … [inadvertently creating the Grove?]
[WIELD Powers -> 12!]
Create a space that’s a copy of the Gazebo space like Everard had, she expands the image in her mind until she’s inside it.
Some voices whispering in her head … previous magi, advice, complaints, more complaints.
Everard was famous more for being a libertine wastrel, not someone evil. But, it turns out, mostly didn’t do all that much. Probably because touching anything can actually *break* stuff.
Back at WDW …
While it’s solidifying … French doors out of nowhere.
We step into it, and arrive in a classic white not-quite-Victorian gazebo, benches with cushions, small fountain. Grass around, fading in the distance to imipressionistic colors.
Charlotte welcomes them. “There are some things we need to sort out …”
Two Months Later …
Gardner Academy, Graduation Day. Kids running around. Parents looking nice. Pomp & Circumstance.
Superintendent - Guest Speaker Tatanka. Winks at A-10. A nod to Alycia (a raised eyebrow back, “Subtle, much?”)
Valedictorian - Telekinecian. Calls out other team mates, supers, more inclusivity, more about the pressures on metas, eviscerating the concepts of generational criticisms (millennials!).
Jason, Alycia, Nono … Pietro …
Adam is out in the crowd. His family. Taz not graduating, joking with Adam. Mom glances at him …
… when he got home, stepping through a French Door onto the sidewalk, walking up, coming in …
[Mom - Looking at the floor. You know how Jordan is always in the front room, in the sitting room, and playing adventure games jumping all over funriture and making action noises? Now she was shouting, “By the Concordance!” and other stuff which she decided were your catch phrases - and then she stopped, in the middle of the Ottoman, and looked stricken, and said, “Oh, no! I have to do my homework! I can’t save the world, Mom is claling, I have to do my laundry, it’s too much!” And she put her hand to her forehead and pretended to swoon as she fell into her bedroom, and she laughted and laughed, and haven’t seen her have that much fun in ages. And I told her she couldn’t tell anyone, and she just gave me such a look. I wouldn’t have done it that way, but I suppose it’s going to work out. So …"]
… and he’s like, “It’s three more years before I have to deal with this.” And both parents say, “Two.”
Charlotte is sitting under a tree, in the shade, off to the side. A couple of non-graduating (olders) Ponies. And the Newmans.
And after, folk are milling around.
Adam’s dad shakes hands with Harry. Jason (“Nice to see how well you turned things around,” with a smile) (blush).
Adam’s mom catches Charlotte’s eyes, gives a greeting nods. Howdies to Leo and the rest of the Newmans.
TV caster …
“There’s Charlotte Palmer, known to some as Ghost Girl, who’s been …” (been more retiring for a bit, but is probably out as Magus Palmer now. Esp. since she’s no longer ghosty because that never happened.)
Adam is only known within the family, still. Jordan has gotten embarrassed about playing being him, so she’s instead being more eyerolling and being snarky annoyed, but only because she clearly loves him.
Harry’s folks are busy chit-chatting with literally everyone, as do the other Gales.
Tatanka, and Andi’s whole family.
The two families seem disturbingly enchanted with each other.
Party at the Quill Compound. Charlotte provides the food. Jason is the gracious host.
(Adam’s family has gone home. “Tell Summer hi,” Jordan says, WINKing) Adam shows up as Concord, along with the Concordance Trio. They’re still kind of tense and uncomfortable … and the Ponies move in.
(“Just ask him!” “Something you need to ask me?” “What is the standard Concordance response to selfie requests?” “Here’s my first one.”
“That’s the same girl!” Red affixes a ghastly smile.
Even Pietro. And Armiger. Jaycee and Lucius. Irregulators. Daph (who’s trying to reach a compromise with Palamedes). “Hi, boyfriend.”
Marion with her, some other kids.
Colin. Going over and talking with Jason. Summer catches, “Robot rights. Obviously that’s the crude term, artificial beings with sentience, unrecognized. It’s easy to …” blah blah blah prepped speech “No one’s trying to fight for rights and recognition for a creation that’s sentient that looks like this.” [shows a Rossum-bot] “A sentient, self-aware creation laboring for Quill Enterprises. Nobody’s finding out from the old spider-bots from the cartoons. You could, are you interested in changing that perception … you’d be really well positioned … but you’re busy, and i’d like to work with you on this. Not the easy ones, but the hard ones.”
Jason gives a toast – great bunch of people. Alice?
Alycia (glare, then) - toast - have learned a lot in time at Gardner. Lot of people who have shown they don’t have to be what others have planned for them, or expected from them, or what fate thought they should be. Thank you for that lesson.
Summer is living quiet life as student, as Leo’s girlfriend’s sister.
Harry - An adult corners him about his plans now graduated.
Harry answers on his own (even if Silverstreak seems to have been about to rush in and show how he’s owned Harry taking time off).
Harry has registered with AEGIS, has gotten a number to call if in trouble in France. Another in Germany. They own me. Or I owe them. Stay out of China, kid.
Charlotte - Going around the party. Sees kids watching the original interview video with Tasha Starr, another the Blintzkrieg Pony Q&A, etc.
End of the evening, Charlotte walks into Everard’s mansion.
It’s not the end, but the beginning … but there’s a lot of lingering at the party …
The Next Day …
Adam trying to sleep in, and sister sneaking in because she’s bored, and they chatter away. Camera pans past, over to Leo’s workshop, Otto in background, Aria right there, getting a call, pan over to Summer on her phone walking down the street, headed to work, waving, gives a hug to Nono as she leaves, getting on her apron, phone buzzes, and it’s the set of emojis 🙅🚫* that Alycia sends when there’s trouble, and starting to undo the apron and she’s gotta go, walking out, into an alley, Alycia/Charade is there, taps on her wrist, cell phone screen projected on forearm, and Summer’s transforming as Alycia runs for her bike, and we pan up to looking at the larger city, and in the distance we see a speedster streak out toward the city limits, out and away, and in a much straighter line a thunderbird figure flying in the same direction, and continue panning up and we can see the seaboard, past clouds, looking at Earth from low orbit, and back further, seeing it in a dark scrying pool, Charlotte looking at it, and starting to turn away … then turning back and frowning as something comes into view in the starfield … stars occluded … shaking head, putting down the teacup, and sighing, here we go again, and taking up her staff.
*The last emoji got mangled so I just put in Summer’s smiling sun.
author: *** Dave H.